…and other items

A few more items popped on to the ToDo list and we knocked off a couple as well.

Swim Ladder

The swim ladder pulled up from the deck. I initially repaired it by cleaning out the holes and re-anchoring the screws in 4200, but that pulled up as well. So, instead of doing it half-assed, I studied up on epoxy, ordered a bunch of parts, and prepared to completely re-bed. But, when I drilled out the holes I was surprised to discover six machine screw holes underneath the fiberglass that aligned perfectly with the ladder. I picked up some zinc M6 screws from Tacoma Screw (turns out they don’t stock much 316 stainless) and sure enough they fit right in. So, apparently, the factory glassed over the machine screw holes and then used sheet metal screws to mount the swim ladder to the fiberglass. I asked Trevor about it but it wasn’t clear what happened here. So, we took our San Juan trip with the zinc screws and they held, but got a coat of rust very quickly. When I got back, I cleaned out the holes and scraped adhesive off the deck, dried the holes using a shop cloth and a heat gun, and used 316 stainless (M6 / 1mm thread / 25mm length) from McMaster along with some butyl tape to reattach it. I was a little worried about the exposed core in the layer over the aluminum. It doesn’t look like there’s any wood in there and the fiberglass layer is maybe 1/4″ thick. So, I’m hoping by wrapping the top of the screws in butyl and putting some locktite 243 on the bottom will hold it and keep it dry.

Working with butyl and locktite was interesting. Locktite initially cures in about 15 minutes, but butyl takes time to creep, so you can’t get the screws completely tight right away. So, I tightened it down and came back every few minutes to snug things down for about 10 minutes. Then, I trimmed off the squished-out butyl and let it be.

Main Engine Service

At 349 hours on the main, it was time for a little TLC. I checked oil and transmission – both fine. I changed the zincs and discovered the forward anode in the aftercooler had broken off. It looks like an easy thing to fish out, but I need a couple of o-rings ($48 each!) to do so. It’s been almost 11 months and they were ready. I think I over-tightened the zincs last time, because they were almost impossible to get out (I procured a 1″ diameter 18″ steel pipe from Home Depot to put on the end of my wrench, which did the trick). Also, the seacock on the main engine raw water through hull was almost frozen, so I ordered a “helper” tool. I contacted Trevor and apparently, Groco sea cocks have a port for grease, so I ordered some (though, I am not sure I have a Groco – mine doesn’t look like the picture). But, I think just working the valve open and closed will help. I need to add an action item to open and close the valves more often.

Other Stuff

Cleaning the boat is a challenge. The non-skid is really resistant to cleaning – even with specialized non-skid cleaner and a stiff brush. This is something I would be more than happy to hire someone to do, but like many services on the west side of the Sound, it’s hard to find someone. I bought some better brushes and a power polisher (my Milwaukee M18 kit grows!) but haven’t gotten into cleaning in earnest. So far, we’re just trying to stay on top of the worst of it.

I don’t know why it took me so long to get into Sail Life. I’ve been watching Travels with Geordie for a couple of years (I like it so much, I’m a patron) but the wooden boat work is less applicable to the stuff I do. Athena is a fiberglass boat, so a lot of what Mads does is more helpful to me. But, what has been most beneficial is learning from Mads’ attitude. He deeply embraces the work – and his resilience to setbacks is inspirational. So, I adopted the Kanban board for my projects and spent a fun day knocking them out.

There are still a lot of items *not* on the list (moving the propane leak sensor, adding some non-slip to the stairs, etc.) but I like the immediacy of the Kanban board. I still record stuff in a maintenance log, as well.

As I complete projects, I try to be aware what I am learning from them. Recently, I have learned to not be afraid of fiberglass repairs. Also, doing a second round on the engine anodes taught me about appropriate tightness and the need to work the seacocks more often. When the next person to work on your boat is you, it changes your approach…

Coming up… I ordered a Starlink RV kit….